ECONOMY

Romania scraps border tax after drivers protest

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s centrist cabinet said yesterday it will scrap legislation which has allowed local authorities to impose their own taxes at the border, following truck drivers protests during the week. Around 300 trucks briefly blocked a border crossing in the western town of Nadlac to protest a tax imposed on cars entering Hungary, state news agency Rompres said yesterday. Romania joined the European Union on January 1 this year, abandoning customs duties and mandatory passport checks with other EU members, but municipal authorities have kept some border taxes. Protests also erupted this week on Romania’s southern border with Bulgaria, which joined the EU together with Romania, after authorities retained a tax to cross the Danube at Giurgiu. Bucharest’s government said such taxes hamper the free movement of goods, services and capital. «The government has committed to scrap all barriers to free circulation… irrespective of whether we are talking about laws, orders by ministers… or rulings by mayors,» government spokeswoman Oana Marinescu said. She suggested that legislation will be scrapped after the government gets advice from legal experts. Yesterday, the municipalities in Giurgiu and on the western border decided to temporarily suspend the taxes, a move hailed by truck drivers and transport firms which have said such taxes hurt their business. «Now that we have got into the EU, it’s good that eventually we do it the same way as its respected members,» Florin Patrascu, a 50-year-old truck driver, told Reuters on the border with Bulgaria.